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Washington sought 'leverage' with $400m Iran payment

Washington sought leverage with Iran paymentThe United States has acknowledged that it waited for Iran to release American prisoners before delivering $400m in cash that it owed the country, but again insisted the payment was not a ransom.

"With concerns that Iran may renege on the prisoner release ... we of course sought to retain maximum leverage until after American citizens were released," US State Department spokesman John Kirby told a news conference. "That was our top priority."


Last hospital in Syria's Daraya bombed: activists

Last hospital bombed:DaravaSyrian government forces have bombed the last remaining civilian hospital in the besieged Damascus suburb of Daraya, according to activists, who say an incendiary weapon similar to napalm was used.

Government forces dropped the bombs on the hospital shortly after midnight on Friday morning, according to activists and the Britain-based Syrian Network for Human Rights.


Boy in the ambulance: shocking image emerges of Syrian child pulled from Aleppo rubble

Boy in ambulance in SyriaA photograph of a boy sitting dazed and bloodied in the back of an ambulance after surviving a regime airstrike in Aleppo has highlighted the desperation of the Syrian civil war and the struggle for control of the city.

The child has been identified as five-year-old Omran Daqneesh, who was injured late on Wednesday in a military strike on the rebel-held Qaterji neighbourhood.


Report: U.S. Swimmers ‘Fabricated’ Robbery Story

Olympic swimmers lied about robberyAs the police investigation continues into the alleged robbery of four U.S. Olympic swimmers in Rio, a Brazilian police source told ABC News that "one of the swimmers was seen on CCTV footage breaking down the door to the bathroom at [a] gas station and fighting with a security guard" on the night of the incident.

Police told ABC News that the swimmers "offered 100 reals and $20" to compensate for the damage.

Swimmer Ryan Lochte claimed on Sunday that he and three teammates were robbed in a taxi early that morning while heading to the Olympic Village in Rio de Janeiro.


Police stop two US Olympic swimmers from leaving Brazil

Police stop two US Olympic swimmers from leaving RioBrazilian police pulled two US Olympic swimmers off a plane about to leave the country to question them about a claim they made to have been victims of an armed mugging, according to US officials.

"We can confirm that Jack Conger and Gunnar Bentz were removed from their flight to the United States by Brazilian authorities," Patrick Sandusky, spokesman for the US Olympic Committee, said on Wednesday.


US withheld cash until Iran released American prisoners: report

US wittheld cash until Iran released prisoners

U.S. officials wouldn't allow Iranians to take control of $400 million in cash sent to the country earlier this year until three American prisoners had left Iran, according to a new report.

After a Swiss Air Force plane carrying the three Americans left Tehran on Jan. 17, an Iranian cargo plane with the cash was allowed to return from Switzerland, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday, citing U.S. officials and others briefed on the operation.


Israel to demolish Bedouin school near Jerusalem

Israel to demolish Bedouin school

A protest is set to take place outside a school in Khan al-Ahmar, a Bedouin village on the outskirts of Jerusalem, after Israeli authorities ordered it be shut down and demolished.

The solidarity protest, organised by the Palestinian Ministry of Education, was staged after village residents and the Italian Ambassador were informed in writing on Monday of Israel's decision to shutter the school, which accommodates 170 students from five different Bedouin communities in the region, community spokesman Eid Abo Khamis told Al Jazeera.


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